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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 July, 2004, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
TV under fire over factual shows
Kate Adie, BBC correspondent
The group accused TV bosses of failing to fulfil public service duties
Factual TV coverage of the developing world is at the lowest level ever recorded, according to research by a charity campaign group.

The body 3WE - made up of international development, environment and human rights charities - accused TV bosses of "violating" public service duties.

It said BBC One and ITV1's coverage in a year amounted to under 20 hours each.

The group called the BBC's performance "alarmingly poor" and criticised Ofcom, which regulates ITV1 and Five.

Don Redding, 3WE co-ordinator, said: "How are UK citizens supposed to understand the world if they aren't even told about it?"

Michael Buerk in Ethiopia in 1984
The report said the amount of factual programmes was inadequate
3WE, a coalition representing groups such as Oxfam, Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth, said broadcasters and regulators were failing to fulfil public service obligations.

"The British public are having blinkers slapped on them by TV bosses who are violating the letter and the spirit of their public service obligations," said Mr Redding.

The group said factual programming about the developing world had halved since surveys began in 1989.


Only 24 factual programmes in the year dealt with issues of politics, development, environment and human rights in developing countries, it said.

The amount of general factual international programming on the four largest terrestrial channels was 40% lower in 2003 than in 1989/90.

On BBC One, only one factual international programme dealing with development, environment and human rights was broadcast in 2003, the group said, while on ITV there were no such programmes.

Paul Mylrea, head of media at Oxfam, said: "It's evident that there isn't enough factual programming to help inform public interest in the developing world."

No spokespeople for the TV networks or Ofcom were immediately available for comment.

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